*Heavy DC Bashing of the current editoral regime at DC will be found here be warned. So now that you've been warned..
*steps onto soapbox*
DC don't. Just please don't.
I know it's a few months away plus the Oracle: The Cure and Battle for the Cowl haven't even started yet. But DC, don't bring back Barbara Gordon as Batgirl. If you do, you will betray more than twenty years of stories. But then, you've been a company that currently loves the past.
In the 90s, almost every hero was replaced at one point and new heroes where given these iconic personas (Kyle Rayner as Green Lantern, Tim Drake as Robin, Connor Hawke as Green Arrow, and Cassandra Cain as Batgirl). Even more, you continued to stay on the course in the 1980s with Wally West continuing as the Flash. Directions looked be have so changed that there was no going back to DC's past.
But now? It truly has.
Hal Jordan has reclaimed being the main Green Lantern. Tim Drake appears to be losing his role as Robin. Connor Hawke is not even Green Arrow anymore, he can't even shoot an arrow any longer and has become DC's Wolverine. And Wally West's future is in question with the return of Barry Allen as the Flash. As for Cassandra Cain? What hasn't DC done to this poor character? It appears the higher up's at DC aren't very fond of her, the fact that she can play in the games with the boys and hold up against the best of them. Don't believe me? The evidence speaks for itself:
Her series which was selling well at the time was canceled to make way for the new Batwoman to avoid confusion (ironically, Batwoman herself for three years was nothing more than a one dimensional character until this June when Greg Rucka, her creator will finally be given the chance to flesh her character out). Cassandra also vacated the title of Batgirl to instead appear "one year later" as the villainous leader of the League of Assassins while displaying really out of character behavior in the story. Then DC heard from her fanbase and gave back her fans the character then revealing her evil nature was instead her being brainwashed and drugged by the supervillain Deathstroke. Then but a few weeks later appeared being out of character in sniping a drug kingpin in front of Tim Drake.
She was then to go on replace Catwoman at the last minute in Batman & The Outsiders written by Chuck Dixon. Again she was slowly being written well and appeared actually DC was actually appeared to care for her character with news of a solo mini-series about her. Even, more Dixon himself admited she be appearing in a fill-in issue of Detective Comics written by him filling in the lost time of her being back to the side of angels.*
*podcast link: http://forum.newsarama.com/showthread.php?t=138291
Then it all came tumbling down. Chuck Dixon left DC due to differences he had with the direction the books he was writing where going. The writer who wrote most of the horrible out of character appearances of Cassandra, Adam Beechen was announced to write her mini. Fans of the character where at a gasp but they still had hope DC had a direction for her. And DC did have one, to ruin her.
Given, how many of her fans Mr. Beechen had angered in the past, there was barely any show for Cassandra's mini and it bombed hard (the last issue selling just below twenty thousand). The Outsiders where disbanding and Cassandra was left alone in the book, until it was announced that it was being rebooted. But if there was one thing Mr. Beechen did show in Cassandra's mini was the harsh reality of DC's writers and editoral constantly turning a blind eye to the character. For such examples I just have you look at ongoings Nightwing, Robin, and the book Cassandra even appeared in Batman & the Outsiders. She's never mentioned in any of them and even when Mr. Beechen made her a part of the family never once is it mentioned or is she shown with the group. Never truly giving her due. Even now, when she's talked about in DC Panels I still think she still isn't as respected.
And now here we are on the edge of beginning the Battle for the Cowl event. And just but a few weeks ago came the announcements at the New York Comic Con from DC at their panel that there be a Batgirl ongoing, Cassandra would have her own battle for the cowl, Barbara would no longer be Oracle, and there be a death in the BftC event. With the fact of the Oracle mini series being called "The Cure" and with the release of Nightwing #153 (we see in the Origins and Omens backup of a Batgirl so very not Cassandra and so very much like Barbara Gordon version). It didn't take much for Cassandra's fans to connect the dots on what was developing and the screw job DC had made. The past is returning, Barbara Gordon appears to be headed back to don the Batsuit.
But when you truly think it's good for her character guess again, it isn't.
How can you say it isn't?
The cover to Barbara's greatest adventures wasn't of her kicking butt and taken names. Nor was it her investigating. Nope her pose was her applying make-up while Batman and Robin fought the bad guys in the background.
Compare that to numerous covers of Birds of Prey of her leading the team and showcasing her talents. They had a who knows how many covers of her as Batgirl and they choose THAT? Is it any wonder this started a controversery when it was released?*
And again back to the Origin and Omens from Nightwing #153, was Barbara kicking butt and taking name's in the Batgirl outfit? Nope, she was kissing the main character her on again, off again love, on again, but no off again we really mean it this time interest.
Worse the very writer of her The Cure mini doesn't fill me with hope either. This writer, Kevin Van Hook just came out of the horrible mini Batman and Superman vs Vampires and Werewolves. Yes, the man somehow find a way to make a book of Superman and Batman fighting vampires and werewolves bad. And this is the guy being handed the keys to this mini?
Even more, the final issue of Birds of Prey itself Barbara acts very out of character. She feels battered after again losing her pad at Platinum Heights. Even more, that Caculator and the Joker escaped under her watch. However, the reason she moved their to take down a criminal group (which she did) is glossed over. She actually is thinking at this moment at that losses above are greater. Even more she misses being Batgirl. I'm sorry, but Babs has never let losses such as this get to her in the past but suddenly now they are. Though I can see her wanting to relive the glory days of Batgirl past. Honestly after reading all her appearances in Cassandra's former ongoing you can see her reasons as to why.
I truly and deeply respect the history of characters. Blame it on the history minor I have and my passion for history.
My respect for past and present gives me a border scope of things and of both characters. Even though I like Cassandra better, even I have to admit the fact that no matter how good she is, Barbara will be the one always remembered for being the best. Heck Cass even has admitted this to Barb numerous times in the past.
It's the fact that right now currently Barbara Gordon is beyond Batgirl, she's Oracle now. And as Oracle she's done things that nobody ever did in the DCU even when she was Batgirl. She was the information hub giving intell, finding evidence, and whatever heroes or law enforcement needed she provided. She's helped beat back alien invasions and other super villainous threats. All while being handicapped. And even in a direct confrontation she's still a fighter. Always has been and always will be. She's a role model to numerous fans. Up until this point she has refused to look for the easy way out. Numerous time's she could have been cured of her disablity but has chosen not too. Why does this time have to be any different?
Because DC is stuck in the past and it's Editor and Chief, Dan Didio's policy is the person most remembered for the role should have it. But again, this is coming from the same DC who refused to even acknowledge the Cassandra Cain version in any other Bat book save for the one she appeared in at times (and even when the book is rebooted they never even explain why she left). Who slammed the door shut on a character they rarely ever gave a chance too. Nice people huh? So it's in these same nice people who have decided that Barbara Gordon has to be Batgirl again. How come they couldn't have treated Cassandra in this same light as Barbara?
Because their blinded by the past.
They want to recapture the glory that once was. But the fact is they just don't even realize what they have now. Charles Xavier from the X-Men has been healed numerous times and has walked again. But Barbara? Again she refuses that crutch she has turned her disablity into an advantage. That's saying something for twenty odd years she's been carrying. But now that appears to be undone. She is going to be back as Batgirl it seems and alas I just won't be there along for the ride. I honestly was looking forward to Battle for the Cowl, but now with this possibly on the horizon I am not. I hope you won't either. Because it be a betrayl of both characters. You can say Barbara has been the best Batgirl, but let me ask you this. So was Dick Grayson. Does that mean he has to redon the pixie boots as well? Once with that visualization you can see why this is bad news. Even more Barbara is hardly a girl anymore she should be a Batwoman, but oh wait DC is finally correcting the mess they made with that version while creating this new mess.
There was once upon a time I looked forward to DC books. I couldn't wait to read the adventures of the heroes of my era. It seems people in DC can't either. However, I understand that Cassandra Cain shouldn't be Batgirl forever. And honestly I'm hoping that's just it. That someone else will take the role. Someone young. Someone worthy. Who knows maybe it'll be a new character? Maybe it won't maybe it can be Misfit or Stephanie Brown aka Spoiler? All I can hope what DC should do if this happens is have Cassandra like Barbara before her evolves past the role she was in. But given the evidence I've seen, I hardly doubt that will be the direction that will happen.
And so probably is me being a fan of DC until this kind of direction is stopped. Is that the future can be anyone and that the characters of the past cannot always be back in the roles they where. Sometimes they have evolved too much to be that. In that case, that has befallen Barbara Gordon. When DC begins realizing that the past isn't the future maybe I'll return as a fan. But as of right now? What do I have to look foward too? Nightwing, Robin, and Birds of Prey are all canceled. Cassandra is out of the Outsiders. Everything I used to enjoy is gone. My very pull list on the DC side is going to be reduced to one book post Blackest Night. The very things that's driving me away isn't the characters, it's the people whose writing them and their choices on handling them. It's wrong and it should stop.
I know this will probably not be read by anyone at DC. I also know this post won't change anything. But I feel I must write this even though it'll mean nothing at all. And again I plea to DC. Don't do this. Don't make Barbara Gordon Batgirl again. It be a demotion to the twenty years of her character thus far. I can accept Cassandra Cain not being Batgirl anylonger. But please DC I plea to you don't go back in this one exception.
*steps off soapbox*
Comment without an Outhouse Account using Facebook
Note: while you are welcome to speak your mind freely on any topic, we do ask that you keep discussion civil between each other. Nasty personal attacks against other commenters is strongly discouraged. Thanks!
About the Author - Zechs
Zechs is the lord and master of The Toy Shed, Character Spotlight, and Cartoon Reviews. He's also an aspiring comic book writer trying to get some of his works published on the Outhouse. If there's any greater quality to Zechs, it's that he's an avid fan of comic book characters and would defend them to the bitter end against the companies that use them wrongly. Zechs walks the lonely path in Chicagoland area.
More articles from Zechs